After a tough double overtime loss to Michigan State last week, the Badgers look to bounce back against Purdue. The last time the Badgers played at Camp Randall, it was the final game for former coach Paul Chryst. Kick off is at 2:30 on ESPN. Wisconsin is 2.5-point favorites over Purdue Football.
Wisconsin vs. Purdue Goal No. 1: Contain Aidan O’Connell
Senior quarterback Adian O’Connell will throw the ball and throw it a lot. He has already thrown 269 passes. If the game is at Purdue’s pace and tempo, expect the Boilermakers to attack the Wisconsin secondary. The Badger secondary has been targeted often over the last few weeks. Ricardo Hallman, Jay Shaw, and Alexander Smith will be busy all day and need to hold their own.
If Purdue Football passes the ball, it’s essential the Wisconsin defensive lines establish a consistent pass rush. They have to do their part to help the secondary. Purdue does have a nice freshman running back in Devin Mockobee. If I’m Wisconsin playing Purdue, I’m taking the pass out and making them beat me on the ground.
Four Full Quarters On Both Sides Of The Ball
What has been Wisconsin’s consistent problem as a team so far? If you take out the Ohio State loss, it’s been putting together four full quarters in defeats. The Badgers were terrible in the second half against Washington State, Illinois, and then again last week against Michigan State. They have to play complementary football and have all three units play as one.
To begin, Wisconsin has to be cleaner on offense. We’re still seeing bad throws from Graham Mertz and the offensive line getting beat. Turnovers continue to be the pain of this offense. We saw a bad throw from Mertz last week inside their own 10-yard line and then a Braelon Allen fumble in double overtime last week. Both plays resulted in touchdowns for Michigan State. Plays like that will lose you games every time. Wisconsin-Purdue will be decided by consistently.
A Little Sense Of Urgency
With five regular-season games left, the Big Ten West is out of the picture. Right now, the Badgers need to become bowl eligible, and they’re running out of time to do it. Every game left on the schedule is no cakewalk either.
I understand the Badgers are playing a ton of young players and first-year starters. This year of experience will consequently be beneficial in their future development. However, we’re seeing this team beating itself just about every week. There’s no doubt the talent is there. That’s what is most encouraging.
If they have any chance of a postseason bowl berth, Wisconsin must beat Purdue, the team I believe is the best in the Big Ten West.
Wisconsin vs. Purdue: Prediction
It’s going to be really cool to see Jim Leonhard in his first game at Camp Randall as Wisconsin’s interim head coach. I have no doubt the crowd is going to give him a ton of support.
However, the Wisconsin secondary against Purdue Football has me worried. I thought there would be some growing pains early in the season with transfers and a freshman starting. Now, in Week 8 of the season, the growing pains are still there. Jay Shaw has not had a good year to this point. Subsequently, teams are targeting him in games. With a freshman on the opposite side, he needs to be the stable corner. However, I love the development of Ricardo Hallman and believe he’s going to be a great corner for this defense.
Wisconsin-Purdue can be the Badgers’ if they keep it clean on the offensive side of the ball. This offense is not good enough yet to win playing sloppy. We haven’t seen it on a consistent basis where they can drive down the field. The flashes are there, but this offense should be better to this point, and it isn’t.
Purdue throws the ball for 313 yards a game and rushes for 133 yards a game. It’s certainly a pretty good offensive balance. Can Wisconsin stop both or at least make Purdue one-dimensional? Right now, it’s hard seeing that happen tomorrow.
Prediction: Wisconsin 21, Purdue 27
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